“Being on ‘Chopped Sweets’ was a thrill! My game plan was to stick with what I’m good at doing and make it to the final round. After that, the crumbs would have to fall where they may,” says Nelson. “It was a long and exhausting 15-hour day. Of course, getting to spend it looking at that terribly handsome Scott Conant did make it a tad bit more bearable. Winning was literally the icing on the cake. (Couldn’t help it!)”

Nelson, owner of Daisy Cakes, with bakeries in Spartanburg, S.C., and Las Vegas, Nev., won the new Food Network show and spin-off of the “Chopped” series, which presents mystery basket ingredients that chefs must incorporate to prepare creative and composed dishes.

Nelson also brokered a deal with Barbara Corcoran on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2013 and since has appeared on the “TODAY Show,” “QVC,” “The Queen Latifah Show,” Anderson Cooper,” “The Taste,” “The Chew,” “Good Morning America,” “ABC World News,” “Made in America,” “Rachael Ray” and “Wheel of Fortune.”

Nelson uses family recipes to bake traditional four-layer cakes in flavors such as coconut, chocolate, red velvet and carrot. She ships about 17,000 cakes around the country each year, and with coronavirus and stay-at-home orders, she has seen a spike in business.

by Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89